Monday, November 16, 2009

LARA DE LOS REYES | Graveyard of Half-Baked Ideas

opening 6:00 pm, November 7 (Saturday), exhibit runs until November 27

When the taxidermist finally managed to stitch the last bird back to its original form, he suddenly realized that it was not death that drove him to preserving ‘things as they are’ but the dreadful continuity of life that is even more frightening than the untimely trigger of a proverbial hunter left to scour the few prize pieces of natural history. For therein lies the uncertainty of the present and the infallibility of the future. Knowing full well that the obvious never corresponds to its actual appearance, precisely because the appearance has to betray the surface appraisal that it has previously proposed. Precisely because the obvious has to d/elude. Precisely because not doing so takes the fun out of the mind games that voyeur peeping toms want to play. And surely it is only because, in the one-to-one correspondence of form and substance brews a hollow core that is at once is and not nothing. 

To admit that this show is simply about death is a cliche. And to think that a painting depicting traces of a volume that once stood as a fragment of memory is to mistake mourning for death. Continuity haunts more than death. And those spirits, presences, that continue to roam because they have left something undone are merely excuses for the seductive allure of indeterminacy. It is nothing but a strategy to delay melancholy. For “melancholy occurs when we finally get the desired object, but are disappointed with it (Zizek).” This object by its possession has ceased to become the object of desire–the cause of desire castrated, dismembered of pleasure–left dangling, limp and impotent. Hence there is some reason to believe that the shortest way towards desire is to bypass it, to delay its encounter and maintain its phantasmagoric outline. And hence, indulgence must be permitted for those foolish boys and girls who refuse to get married, for those gypsies who continue to travel, for those circus artists who continue to bike around the world, for those politicians who keep on running for office, for those armchair revolutionaries who prefer to wait, for the prodigal uncles searching the islands for gold, for the lover that keeps coming back, for fishermen coming home empty handed, and for those Octogenarians who decided to remarry. 

To admit that this show is about capturing the motion of objects, or the life of objects–painted in their concealment–is about presence and a poignant mourning of life is a cliche. There is nothing as violent as preventing death, of disrupting completion, of withholding termination, of denying consumption, and of not letting what should happen, happen. This is the accident. Accidents are not sexy spontaneous combustions but masochistic painful intrusions that deceive and make us believe that they are welcome pauses in our easy-fix solution driven world. Baudillard comes to mind when he says: “We have to give objects, even objects of desire a chance to die violently. A vase, a chair, a book, a cupboard. Fire, breakage, disuse, oblivion. A chance to break inside your head and be smashed to smithereens.” Not ever to be mistaken as a cute little girl’s take on death, beautifully transforming it into another accessible painting, photograph, sculpture, object, experience or affect that will send every old man wild and wet in his pants. No and not ever. For Lara de los Reyes is not in the business of pretty things, she is in the business of death, but not death in its clinical fashionable goth package neither in its pornographic exotic squalor but in proposing death as a status quo. A Graveyard of Half-Baked Ideas proposes an even more violent vulgar death, death that is not necessarily closure but a suspension of completion like a cold sore that keeps coming back. 

To remotely think that this is a comeback show after some period of hibernation is another cliche. The hermit does not live in isolation, s/he lurks among us silently, tacitly observing the folds of activity not to strike when we expect it, but to emerge in hyperactivity. Chain smoking coffee every morning in the familiar neighborhood cafe we have grown to ignore. Neither oblivious to every coming and going but in fact even more present than the rest of us. They are the village idiots, the homeless bums, the busy ones too busy to work, movie junkies, the dog trainers that have left town, the only ones who have time in their hands and in complete control of it. In fact they have always worked, combing what we have chosen to abandon, refiguring memorial objects and transforming them into the commodity fetishes that have us scrambling for every last piece if only to vicariously figure into that mythical spirituality we have all lost to global opiates. 

Here de los Reyes paints nothing. Not the nothing that is empty. Not the absent. Not the hollow core that propels. Not the zen-like spiritually uplifting readymade. Not the understated waif-like aesthetic that the rich man junkie wants to rescue. Not the compelling emptiness of life in the neo-liberal economy nor the nothing that eludes life. But the fully-charged nothing, ever bold and full-bodied deceptive maximalist baroque! Nothing that does not merely compel nor dispel but specifically the nothing that denies us any gentrified completion giving us the motivation to deny melancholia.


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